The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Bequests and the Life Cycle Model

  • John Laitner
Reference work entry


The standard life cycle model emphasizes a household’s concerns over events within its lifetime, including providing for its own retirement and for its young children. However, in a more elaborate formulation, the household may care about its descendants when they are grown just as when they are young, causing the household to want to leave bequests. Its time horizon may expand to a dynastic scale, and new public policy implications, including so-called Ricardian neutrality, may emerge. Alternatively, bequests may signal non-market exchanges between parents and their adult children, perhaps arising to mitigate transactions costs or informational asymmetries.


Altruistic bequests Annuities Assortative mating Bequests Bequests and the life cycle model Implicit contracts Infinite horizons Inter vivos transfers Joy of giving Life cycle hypothesis Life-cycle model Non-market exchange Representative agent Retirement Ricardian neutrality Strategic behaviour 

JEL Classifications

D4 D10 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Laitner
    • 1
  1. 1.